LaPlace man pleads guilty to 2nd degree rape of a child
EDGARD — After two days of jury selection, criminal defendant Kendall Taylor, 44, of LaPlace, pled guilty to the charge of second-degree rape of a 12-year-old child. On Tuesday, April 20, assistant district attorneys from District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut’s office representing the State of Louisiana and defendant alongside defense counsel spent the entire day selecting prospective St. John jurors, but on Wednesday, after nine jurors were selected, Taylor chose to change his plea to guilty and admit to his criminal conduct.
Judge Nghana Lewis presided over the sentencing, in which Kendall Taylor was sentenced to a 25-year prison term, at hard labor, with the Louisiana Department of Corrections. Taylor, a previously convicted sex offender, will be required to serve 15 years of his sentence without the benefit of parole, probation or the suspension of his sentence. If Taylor is eventually released from State custody, he will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his lifetime. The victim was consulted and is satisfied with the disposition of this case.
After over a year of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Louisiana Supreme Court lifted the moratorium on civil and criminal trials at the beginning of April 2021, and prosecutors from the 40th Judicial District Attorney’s Office were prepared to begin their work in bringing criminal defendants to trial.
The criminal charges against Taylor arose from a 2018 incident that caused deputies from St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office to be dispatched to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans in relation to a rape of the 12-year-old victim. The incident took place at Taylor’s residence in LaPlace where he sexually abused the child in front of other minor children. Taylor was 41 at the time of the incident. After nearly three years of litigation, prosecutors told Judge Lewis this week that they were prepared to proceed with the trial of Taylor and intended to use video recordings of the victim and a minor witness, along with Taylor’s own admissions of his guilt. However, rather than face the evidence against him, Taylor, represented by legal counsel, decided mid-trial to plead guilty to second-degree rape.
Throughout the nearly three-year litigation process the victim as well as the witness showed tremendous courage as they were willing to face a St. John the Baptist Parish jury and testify at trial to hold Taylor accountable for his actions.
The case was prosecuted by District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut’s office with Assistant District Attorney Briana Robertson leading the prosecution and assisted by Assistant District Attorney J. Philip Prescott, Jr. The case was investigated by St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of St. Charles Sheriff’s Office forensic interviewers. Defendant Kendall Taylor was represented by Attorney Randy Dukes of the St. John the Baptist Parish Public Defender’s Office.
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